Archaeologists find unprecedented Chimu textiles at mass child sacrifice site in Peru

13:13 | Trujillo (La Libertad region), Jan. 16.

Textiles —depicting Chimu civilization deities— were found at burial plots of children killed in a mass sacrifice 550 years ago. The archaeological find constitutes an unprecedented event for Peru.

"This is new to archaeologists and, I think, to the entire community because it is the first time we see Chimu civilization deities on textiles found in archaeological context," Peruvian archaeologist Gabriel Prieto and leader of the research team said while showing one of the fabrics.

He explained that even though some Chimu textiles are on display at private collections, they were not found in archaeological context, that is to say, as part of research fieldwork.

On this occasion, the intervention zones are Huanchaquito-Las Llamas and Pampa La Cruz, which are 1.5 km apart from each other.

Prieto believes that one of the vestiges studied is a dress that belonged to a 17-year-old girl.

A skeletal analysis reveals the teenager's death was caused by cervical dislocation as part of a ritual offering to the gods, which included other 268 child sacrifices. The remains of a boy laid beside her body.

A similar textile —worn by another girl— was found in the upper zone of the archaeological intervention area. 

According to Prieto, the owner of such garment is believed to have been a member of the ruling class and the most important person in the mass sacrifice.

"The remaining offerings of sacrificed children were placed around this minor," he remarked.

In addition to skeletal remains and textiles, archaeologists unearthed several objects —considered sacred to pre-Hispanic cultures— such as the spondylus, a mollusk found in the tropical sea of Ecuador.

The research is being conducted through the support and auspices of the National Geographic.


Published: 1/16/2019